The little-known law firm that bought listed practice Ince out of administration in April has now done the same with defendant firm Plexus, saving a further 540 jobs.
Axiom Ince – formerly Axiom DWFM – bought Plexus out of administration on Friday immediately following the appointment of James Clark and Rick Harrison of Interpath Advisory as its joint administrators.
Interpath said there was no need for any redundancies among the 520 employees and 20 fixed-share partners, adding to the 359 qualified lawyers and 442 other staff already under the Axiom Ince umbrella.
Leeds-headquartered Plexus, which had five other offices in England and one in Scotland, went public with its financial problems last month after revealing that its existing backer had refused to put more money into the business.
Plexus was once part of the the Parabis Group, which in 2012 became the first law firm to be bought by a private equity business, Duke Street. But the group was broken up in a pre-pack sale in November 2015, with Plexus returning to the ownership of its founders.
Interpath explained in a statement that a forensic review had discovered that contingent fees were over-recognised in the group’s accounts leading to an overstatement of profits in its 2020 and 2021 financial years.
“Filing of the FY21 statutory accounts was delayed as a result of the forensic investigation and the arising adjustments reduced previously reported profits to a loss-making position.
“This prompted a significant cash requirement which was then further exacerbated both by the impact of Covid-19 and declining sales in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”
Interpath Advisory was then approached to examine the options available for Plexus, including new investment or sale. “A number of parties expressed an interest in the business, including Axiom.”
Mr Clark said: “Undoubtedly, it has been a very difficult few years for Plexus, and so we’re pleased to have been able to conclude this transaction which not only secures the future of the business, but importantly secures 540 jobs without any need for redundancies.
“Right from their initial expression of interest, Axiom were determined and committed to acquiring the practice, safeguarding jobs and importantly, helping to protect client interests.”
Pragnesh Modhwadia, Axiom Ince’s global chief executive, said: “We are excited to have the Plexus family join our fast-growing legal services business. This acquisition cements our commitment to further growth whilst safeguarding jobs and looking after client interests in increasingly turbulent financial and legal markets.”
We reported recently that Axiom is paying £2.2m for the Ince Group, whose creditors are owed £41m.